Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes Glossary of Medical Terms

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Medical Tests


Callus:  A small area of skin, usually on the foot, that has become thick and hard from rubbing or pressure.

Calories: A unit representing the energy provided by food. Carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol provide calories in the diet.

Carbohydrate and protein have 4 calories per gram, fat has 9 calories per gram,
and alcohol has 7 calories per gram.

Cannulas are used to deliver insulin from an insulin pump.
Above: Picture of a cannula set. The tubing is attached to a needle that delivers insulin.

Cannula – A small device for delivering insulin from an insulin pump.
A cannula consists of tubing (that connects to the insulin pump on one end, and a needle on the other) and a needle that is inserted into the body usually in the hips, buttocks, or stomach area.  Cannulas and their tubing come in different sizes (guages) and lengths and are usually worn for about three days before being changed.

Capillary: The smallest of the body’s blood vessels. Oxygen and glucose pass through capillary walls and enter the cells. Waste products such as carbon dioxide pass back from the cells into the blood through capillaries.
Capsaicin: An ingredient in hot peppers that can be found in ointment form for use on the skin to relieve pain from diabetic neuropathy.
Carbohydrate (abbreviated cho): One of the three main nutrients in food.  Foods that provide carbohydrate are starches, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and sugars.
Carbohydrate Counting: A method of meal planning for people with diabetes based on counting the number of grams of carbohydrate in food.
Cardiologist: A doctor who treats people who have heart problems.
Cardiovascular Disease: Disease of the heart and blood vessels (arteries, veins, and capillaries).
Cataract: Clouding of the lens of the eye.
Cerebrovascular Disease: Damage to blood vessels in the brain. Vessels can burst and bleed or become clogged with fatty deposits. When blood flow is interrupted, brain cells die or are damaged, resulting in a stroke.
Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE): A health care professional with expertise in diabetes education who has met eligibility requirements and successfully completed a certification exam.
Charcot’s Foot: A condition in which the joints and soft tissue in the foot are destroyed; it results from damage to the nerves.
Cholesterol: A type of fat produced by the liver and found in the blood; it is also found in some foods. Cholesterol is used by the body to make hormones and build cell walls.
Chronic: Describes something that is long-lasting. Opposite of acute.
Coma: A dangerous sleep-like state in which a person is not conscious. Coma may be caused by hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) in people with diabetes. Comas related to diabetes are often called diabetic comai>.
Complications: Harmful effects of diabetes such as damage to the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nervous system, teeth and gums, feet and skin, or kidneys. Studies show that keeping blood glucose, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels close to normal can help prevent or delay these problems.
Congenital Defects: Problems or conditions that are present at birth.
Congestive Heart Failure: Loss of the heart’s pumping power, which causes fluids to collect in the body, especially in the feet and lungs.
Conventional Therapy: A term used in clinical trials where one group receives treatment for diabetes in which A1C and blood glucose levels are kept at levels based on current practice guidelines. However, the goal is not to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible, as is done in intensive therapy. Conventional therapy includes use of medication, meal planning, and exercise, along with regular visits to health care providers.
Coronary Artery Disease: See coronary heart disease below.
Coronary Heart Disease: Heart disease caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. If the blood supply is cut off the result is a heart attack.
C-peptide(Connecting peptide): A substance the pancreas releases into the bloodstream in equal amounts to insulin. A test of C-peptide levels shows how much insulin the body is making.
Creatinine: A waste product from protein in the diet and from the muscles of the body. Creatinine is removed from the body by the kidneys; as kidney disease progresses, the level of creatinine in the blood increases.
Cystic Fibrosis: A disease where the body overproduces mucous which can clog ducts in the pancreas and cause secondary type 1 diabetes called Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes.